Nashville, TN (January 10, 2022)
Award-winning Gospel singer, songwriter, and producer Mark Bishop is not one to look back or become burdened by the path he has already trodden. “Songwriters by nature are always moving forward,” he says, “You’re looking to create something new.” That quest is what makes Some Distant Mountain, his newest project for Sonlite Records—and his first since 2019’s GRAMMY-nominated Beautiful Day—feel so special. Inspired by an exploration of American roots music and its origins in Celtic, European, and African traditional music, Some Distant Mountain traverses centuries and continents to celebrate the Gospel in all of its glory. Bishop freely explores these histories with curiosity and respect, but does not burden himself with expectations of strict adherence to academic accuracy. Rather, he allows his unique voice as an artist shine through, refracting off of the angled facets of dozens of interconnected histories.
Bishop has released his third music video from the album, this time for “Shall We Gather At The River.”
Originally written by a preacher named Robert Lowry during an epidemic outbreak in his community of Brooklyn in 19th century New York, one would be forgiven for thinking that Bishop chose to sing “Shall We Gather at the River” as a way to understand and grieve the pandemic he was living through while recording. In actuality, his inspiration lies closer to home. “This is the song that was sung as I was baptised in a creek here in Estill County, Kentucky.” In a way, this song was his introduction to the Gospel.
Driven by Bishop’s own nostalgia and youthful memories, he describes “Shall We Gather at the River” as central to this very traditional vision and experience of mountain worship — a preacher wading into the water and congregants gathered at the edge of the water singing to the newly baptised souls. “I would love to know how many times this song has been sung creekside at an old-fashioned baptism,” he says. “Because it seems to be the anthem for ‘sing this song and then we’re going to dunk some people in the water’.”